Evol Ecol Res 2: 149-170 (2000)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Female choice, conflict between the sexes and the evolution of male alternative reproductive behaviours

Suzanne Henson Alonzo and Robert R. Warner

Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9610, USA

Formerly S.A. Henson. Please address all correspondence to Suzanne Henson Alonzo, Department of Environmental Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064, USA.
e-mail: shalonzo@cats.ucsc.edu


The importance of conflict between the sexes has recently been recognized as a driving force in the evolution of mating systems and reproductive behaviour. Past theory on the evolution of alternative reproductive strategies focused primarily on interactions within a single sex. These interactions can generate frequency- and condition-dependent fitness, which maintain the stable co-existence of alternative reproductive behaviours. We argue that interactions between the sexes (such as female choice and intersexual conflict) are a common but ignored mechanism that will influence the evolution of male alternative reproductive behaviours. Using a modelling approach that links dynamic games, we examine the influence of female choice on the stability and expression of male alternatives. By modelling five different biological scenarios, we show that female choice can suppress the existence of male alternative reproductive behaviours even when frequency- or condition-dependent mechanisms alone would predict their stable co-existence. Furthermore, we find that variation in female choice can lead to the stable co-existence of male alternative reproductive behaviours in the absence of traditional mechanisms known to allow the evolution of reproductive alternatives.

Keywords: alternative reproductive behaviours, life-history theory, multi-player dynamic game models, reproductive strategies, sexual conflict.

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